In Principle 11* David Khalil tells us that those who can’t or don’t want to make decisions will find it hard to lead. They don’t make decisions because they fear making mistakes, are swayed by others, or don’t know how to make their plans reality.
Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach. – Tom Robbins
In contrast, effective leaders make decisions all the time. Moreover, they make decisions on present performance not past success.
They learn to trust their intuition, seek advice from those with experience, and take proper time to make a decision.
Make Decisions Not Excuses
Indeed an effective leader has the courage to see difficult situations through to completion and to accept responsibility for the decisions they make.
Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being free. – Paul Tillich
What’s more, they are ready for risk and believe making decisions and taking action is necessary to make progress.
This approach differs greatly from the indecisive leader. The indecisive don’t want to make decisions and will do anything in their power to put off a decision. For instance, asking for more information, requesting yet another report or creating uncertainty.
Why do they do this? First, they fear making a wrong decision. Second, they don’t have all the facts and their ego stops them divulging this. Finally, they have no vision and making a decision will expose them.
Dealing With Indecisive Leaders
Dealing with the indecisive leader is intensely frustrating for those who expect or need a decision. Moreover, failure to make decisions places undue pressure on the team and risks team credibility.
But what can you do to encourage indecisive leaders to make a decision?
Since they have reached positions of authority they are likely to be plausible, persuasive, and have senior support. Therefore, you cannot force a decision. Instead work with them to encourage a decision:
- Fuel them with more information to help lead to an informed decision. Wherever possible use incontrovertible proof or make use of respected subject matter experts.
- Provide alternatives to discover what they don’t want. Present options and recommendations to draw out a reaction. Allow them to decide.
- Take the upper hand. Present your plans. This may draw out a reaction. If not, capitalise on their indecision and take control.
Remember, those who defer decisions are risking the future through their inaction.
How do you deal with leaders who fail to make decisions?
Creative Commons image courtesy The Gonger.